Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn – social media outlets are more pertinent now more than ever. People are endlessly consuming these social platforms for communicating with friends, family, and peers as well sharing life updates and achievements in the form of text, picture or video. However, there has become a growing concern about what shared content is and is not acceptable among employers.
Therefore, employers need to create policies regarding how social media should be used. This post addresses the do’s and don’ts for employers to keep in mind when writing a social media policy.
Representing the Company
When human resources amend the employee handbook, they need to include a chapter on social media and its impact on existing company’s policies. While the company does not want to necessarily dictate how a worker should behave during off hours, they can still be seen as a representative of the company. With that in mind, employers might ask that their workers not identify their employer in their social media profile. The policy might also state that a worker should not presume to speak on behalf of their company nor industry, unless specifically asked to do so.
Top Secret Information
All social media policies should address the broadcast of confidential information on social media. Taking photos of the company’s latest prototype and sharing them online can definitely harm the long-term viability of the company as well as violate other policies in place. Other sensitive information regarding company procedures, salaries, or other areas need to be specifically addressed by the human resources department. The employee handbook needs to discuss the particular repercussions of divulging sensitive, secret information via social media.
If the employee is associated with the company as a representative, they should be careful of how they present themselves on social media. If they connect with clients on Facebook, for instance, they might not want to post their views on politics, show inappropriate behaviors, or link to sites or stories that may contradict the company’s cultivated image. Employees who connect with clients on social media may be encouraged to create a separate account for use in business. After all, social media is becoming a bigger part of how we do business, so its usefulness should be encouraged.
While social media can be a great boon to a company as a PR and sales tool, it needs to be handled according to the company policies. Without a firm policy regarding how the corporate messages are shared, there can be a fracturing of the corporate identity and brand. When human resources can get ahead of the issue with a strong employee policy, all will be well.